General Rabbit Care
(For Pet Owners)
(Cage care, feeding, treats, grooming, sanitation, any thing you need to know to have a long living, healthy pet)
Most people who have pet rabbits can keep them indoors
in a small cage with a tray.
To keep the smell down, which it will stink, empty the tray atleast every 2 days. Don't use cat litter or it will end up like clay "goop" and become a huge mess, and the stink will be even worse.
Use wood chips, or newspaper. Clean off any fur that gets stuck on the cage floor, or any feces that hang by hair. If you do find them hanging on the cage, it's a good sign because the rabbit is getting enough fiber, and won't get hairballs. Clean the bottom of the cage with lysol or another cleaning product to kill any germs. Make sure you spray anything down with water if you use this, to keep the rabbit from getting poisoned.
I use Purina feed, and just recently, I saw an add on
Domestic Rabbits about them selling smaller bags for pet owners. I think
purina has the best amount of nutrients. I have also used Nutrena (wrong
spelling probably) and a couple of other cheap brands, and Purina was over
all the best. If you get your feed at a petstore, ask a clerk about getting
some purina shipped in. Often they will do it at no charge to you.
I feed my rabbits in the morning and at night. I give each rabbit about a handful of food. For bigger breeds you may want to give 2 handfuls. (Breeds such as French Lop, Rex, Californian etc., that would be over 6lbs.)
Make sure the rabbit has fresh, clean, cold water all the time.
Hay and Other Treats
Hay is good for fiber. It will keep
the rabbit from having diarreha.
Fruits and Vegetables should not be given to rabbits until they are atleast 6 months old. The reason is, their stomachs won't be able to handle it till they reach senior-hood. They could get very sick and have diarreha from it.
Pinecones are nice to give to keep teeth filed down. Teeth are like finger nails and need to be worn down too. Only give pinecones that are open and brown. Avoid the pointy sappy ones. Many herbs are also good for rabbits. For more information on that, check out the herb page.
Furry rabbits, such as the American Fuzzy Lop, and Angora breeds will need ALOT of grooming. As babies the rabbits with long fur will have very soft fur and it will stick together and mat very easy. The most popular spots for huge mats are on the neck, below the chin, which is very dangerous to cut off if you don't know what you're doing. More spots are at the tail and genital area, and on top of the head, between or behind the ears. More tiny fur mats appear on the legs, stomach, sides, and back. When they grow to be about 6-7 months old, they will molt all that baby fur off, and have the nice dense adult coat. It won't need grooming as much, but you will want to keep up with it atleast once a month after that.
For shorter haired rabbits, such
as Dutch or Minirex, you can use a soft brush, kinda like the backs on
alot of dog brushes, those soft black brissles. For showing, breeders use
tiny saw blades for grooming Minirex coats.
Also this wonderful product called "Show Sheen" availible from Klubertanz Equiptments Company, and many others, keep the coat really clean. It repels dirt and stains, and keeps the coat shiny and beautiful. It doesnt prevent knots, but it does make the coat just beautiful. You just spray it on, without grooming, and it does the rest.
For clipping toenails, this can
be hard or easy. The easier kind to cut are the rabbits who have white
toenails. With this kind of nail, you can see the quick (vein) in the nail.
Cut above the quick. If you cut the quick the rabbit will bleed very badly
and it's very painful. So if the nails aren't extremely long, just cut
off the pointy tip of the nail.
For rabbits who have dark, or black toenails, cut off the tip. Or if the nails are long, hold up a flashlight to the nail so you can see where the quick is.
Rabbit usually live on to be about 10 years old if well cared for. I have even heard stories of them living to 20 years. So getting a rabbit is something everyone should think about. I can't count how many times people have got a rabbit from me, for a pet, only to return it a month later saying "I had no idea it was this much work." Or "My daughter/son changed their mind because they don't have the time for it." Rabbits can be litter box trained and aren't as boring as most people think. Rabbits are usually very affectionate and will do anything to get your attention. In many ways they are just like cats. They are perfect for people who live in apartments or want to "sneak" a pet where ones aren't allowed. They won't soil neighbors front yards, or bark loudly.
In conclusion, if you haven't gotten
a pet rabbit yet, please take the time to think it over. If you won't have
the time for the rabbit, to keep it company, etc, don't get it. Because
on the end, the rabbit will end up suffering and could just die from poor
conditions or sadness.
Last but not least, try to stay clear from petstore rabbits. They may look cute in the window, but often times they come from huge rabbit mills and could be diseased. Also the people who work there may abuse them and cause them to be mean. (I had this happen to a shop I was selling to. People returned mean rabbits to me.) The people were fired from their job, but I never sold my rabbits there again. Try to get from a breeder and a shower. There are more out there then you may think. A breeder will more then likely have full bred, healthy rabbits with pedigrees. Often times, a nice breeder will even give rabbits away for free or at a very low price, if they are over stocked, or need the room. So don't think you will spend more money then at a petstore. When I sold to petstores, I would get $8-10 a rabbit, and since all mine were full bred and pedigreed, they sold them for $60-80. So it was a real rip off to everyone by the petstore.
If you have anymore questions contact me.